Thursday, August 01, 2013

Black Balloon, New World and Good Vibrations

That time of year has descended on Melbourne again, where I have a eMini Pass for the Melbourne International Film Festival and am running from cinema to cinema in between other life commitments, to see as many films as possible. I am doing quite well so far, and may in fact see all 13 that the Pass provides! Loving it!

Up first the synopsis of The Black Balloon had pulled me in to book Saturday night’s session, which turned out to be the short to a longer movie feature. Nevertheless The Black Balloon was a short about loneliness in a big city, as it followed the path of a floating and free balloon in NYC, and it’s encounters of people along the way. An amazing amount of people befriended this balloon which crossed their path and seemed to follow them along for a little while, speaking to it, telling it all sorts of personal secrets and walking along with it as their companion. A brief encounter with an inanimate object seemed the closest some of these people had had for a friend in some time. I had actually pictured a whimsical trail through skyscrapers and Central Park, and along the iconic landmark of the city – alas it as more Hoboken than Manhattan… The final scene of freedom was the highlight for me, and for the black balloon!

Marvin, Seth and Stanley was the main feature of this booking, about a father and his two grown sons going on a fishing trip together in rural USA. Themes here were around the lack of communication between men, misunderstandings despite the long family history and bond, and each one’s personal issues and their impact on their demeanour towards others. Each unlikable people to be fair, it was a sad tale about the state of some families and the burdens and troubles people carry with them.

Back to cinema darkness on Monday night, Jenny and I saw The New World, which to date is probably my third favourite film of the Festival so far. A story about Mirta, a cleaner in an asylum seeker processing centre in the Netherlands, who is also a single mother battling her own grief and pain and struggles with her life. West African Luc arrives to be processed, with no papers and a heartbreaking story of loss and fear, and despite Mirta’s often quick judgements on new arrivals, something sparks between the two of them, each having a strong impact on the other. It’s a beautiful story, told in a way where there are gaps in her story left for you to fill in yourself. The acting and music are well done, in that as an audience member I felt her very real symptoms of anxiety at one point, and the moments of joy and care between this friendship that is formed. It’s heartwarming, and sad. Luc’s story is powerful, as powerful as an example of the dire circumstances of fleeing your homeland, and the journey and mental toll that takes. There is a moment when Luc is first processed and his photo is taken, where he shifts for a side view, and the officer says, no no “you are not a criminal”. Indeed.

With so much made of the refugee issue and dastardly politicalised platform it has become in Australia, it was humbling to know that these very personal stories are happening the world over. And that they are very individual and yet similar no matter where the asylum seeker has fled from.

Good Vibrations will easily be my pick of best movie for the Festival, and indeed film I will see for some time. I left this later screening with such joy in my heart, and a renewed love of all things music. Set in Belfast in the peak of The Troubles, Terri Hooley opens a record store in one of the most bombed streets in the city at the time. His love of music and the terror all around him collide, and he becomes an icon of hope for youth in the middle of those times – watching him discover the underground music scene just after starting his shop moves the soul of any music lover. He then works on recording some of the bands he discovers, and thus The Undertones, Rudi and The Outcasts are released on his tiny label, produced from the record store.

Moments where he first hears the recorded track of one of these bands is one of the greatest scenes I have seen and felt for a very long time, in addition to the excitement of hearing Teenage Kicks played by John Peel on the BBC Radio National the first time, and the pinnacle gig to close out the film – I already want to see this movie again! The meeting of his future wife in the film is gorgeous, although the pain of the turmoil of the relationship throughout the film is heartbreaking, as Terri’s love of music and the live scene consumes him. An amazing biopic of an incredible man and spirit, it’s funny and witty, and a film for every music fan.

I have been raving about Good Vibrations since walking out of the cinema at Greater Union, and am telling people to see it! It screens again next Saturday!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...